[OS X TeX] Latex tree

Alan Munn amunn at gmx.com
Sun Feb 27 00:33:58 EST 2011

On Feb 27, 2011, at 12:04 AM, soumya dipta wrote:

> Hello,
> I am trying to install some new packages in my system Mac OSX. 
> I will like to know what are the possible ways to do it. I also do not understand the local versus global tex tree structure and would like to know more about it.

On a Mac, the local texmf folder  is located in the Library folder  of your Home directory.  This is usually notated as "~/Library/texmf", where the "~" means "your home directory" (i.e. what you get when you click on the Home icon in a Finder window.).

Unless there are multiple accounts on your machine that all need access to the same local files, this is the folder you should use.

When should I put things in the local texmf ?

Before putting anything into the local texmf folder, you should check that the relevant package isn't already part of TeXLive, and therefore included in the MacTeX distribution.  The easiest way to do this is to use the TeXLive utility.  This is especially true of packages on CTAN, most of which are included in TeXLive, and should already be available to you.

If you know that a package is not available as part of TeXLive, then you should put it into your local texmf folder.

What goes where?

The texmf folder contains a number of folders, and these folders themselves contain other folders.  For most users, the three top-level folders that are most important are the following:

Folder	What goes in it 

bibtex	This is where bib files and bst files go. 
	It should contain at least the following folders: 
bst		Put bst files here. 
bib		Put bib files here.

tex	This is where new packages go. 
	It should contain the following folders:

latex	Put latex packages here (also biblatex styles) 
plain	Put plain tex files here. 
xelatex	Put xelatex specific packages here.
xetex	Put plain xetex files here.
context	Put context files here.
generic	Put files that are usable with any TeX flavour here. 

doc		Put documentation files from packages installed in the tex folder  here.  Putting the documentation files here allows them to be found by the texdoc system (or the "Show Help for Package" function in the Help menu of TeXShop).

Other top-level folders in include fonts, scripts, and source.


Alan Munn
amunn at gmx.com

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